Nadine Spencer is up to the challenge as acting CEO of the Black Business and Professional Association

New position to oversee program expansion

Nadine Spencer

After 39 years as Canada’s leading national Black business advocacy and support organization, the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) is expanding its leadership with a new CEO position.

Nadine Spencer, who has served as the BBPA’s president since 2017, has been named by the board as acting CEO. Spencer will guide the BBPA through its continued growth and ongoing expansions. These new projects include the launch of several new programs for business owners and increased funding towards these initiatives. The current BBPA vice president, Ross Cadastre, the founder of ITS Global, one of Canada’s fastest-growing recruiting firms, will succeed Spencer as president. Cadastre. He brings a long history of business experience and success to the BBPA’s governance and his role as president.

Spencer will take a secondment from her current position as CEO of BrandEQ, a creative marketing agency based in Toronto and New York, in order to focus her attention on the rapid new growth the BBPA has been experiencing in the last few years.

“I am honoured that the BBPA has named me as its first CEO,” says Spencer. “In the nearly five years that I have served as an executive member with BBPA, issues of race and equality have moved to the forefront of public discourse and Black community advocacy voices have come together in unison to advance Black businesses. I’m also pleased that my colleague Ross Cadastre has accepted the position as president. We will work together to advance Black businesses during this critical post-COVID-19 recovery time and develop more outreach programs and partnerships.”

“One of our core values is actively making a difference,” commented Cadastre, “we see the BBPA and the role of leadership as a way to impact and inspire black business and ownership in Canada. As president, my overall vision is to find and support black businesses in every province and discover what we need to do to serve them. This is how the association will give back to its community.”

As the BBPA’s CEO, Spencer will lead the organization’s operations, membership growth, fund raising, develop education programs, and oversee all other initiatives targeted towards the empowerment and advancement of the Black business community.

Ross Cadastre

In an interview with The Caribbean Camera, Spencer explained why there was a need to appoint a CEO: “The BBPA today is a vastly different organization than it was just a year ago. There are more members, more programs, and a heightened presence in the corporate community. All of that requires dedicated, day-to-day management and leadership by someone who sees the big picture and can represent the BBPA in its many public interactions in the community. The board came to the conclusion that this can’t be accomplished with part-time, volunteer management. The position reflects the maturity and growth of the BBPA. It was a change that was long overdue.”

Spencer suggested that while this change expands the mandate of the BBPA, she expects her transition to the new position will be reasonably smooth because “while I was the BBPA president, I also acted as the CEO of BrandEQ, the marketing and PR agency I founded in 2016. I used to say I spent 75% of my time on the BPPA and the other 75% on BrandEQ. Clearly that adds up to 150% of my time and it wasn’t sustainable. In deciding to accept a secondment to BBPA as Acting CEO, I could focus 100% on the BBPA’s pressing needs for management, fundraising and future planning.  [Now] we can go full steam ahead, with my longtime colleague and friend Ross Cadastre now acting as BPPA president. We make a great team that will accomplish great things together for the BBPA and the Black business community.”